Where is the dividing line between political advocacy and political campaigning?
Certainly not among organizers and funders.
The interactive Muckety map above shows some of the connections between the Obama re-election campaign, the major super PAC supporting him (Priorities USA), the advocacy group that operates as a successor to the campaign (Organizing for Action), and a coalition of groups supporting Democrats in the midterm elections (Democracy Alliance).
The same individuals put their money and energies into different legal entities with different reporting requirements and restrictions.
Super PACs, for instance, aren’t supposed to coordinate with campaign offices. Advocacy groups such as Organizing for Action form as 501c4 organizations, which don’t have to file with the Federal Elections Commission or release the names of their donors.
OFA does release them, although finding the list on its web site can be difficult. (The Center for Responsive Politics and the Sunlight Foundation recently compiled the names of those who have given $100,000 or more.)
According to the Associated Press, OFA has cut its staff and its fundraising after many Democrats raised concerns that it was siphoning needed funds from 2014 campaigns.
Groups in the Democratic Alliance plan to spend $374 million on the races, Politico reports.